Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Red light camera ban moves despite Rodriguez flip

As Grits reported yesterday, the Texas House Urban Affairs Committee approved HB 259 by Rep. Gary Elkins banning the use of cameras to ticket red light runners. See coverage from the Dallas News and the Houston Chronicle, the latter of which quoted my testimony that the cameras should be referred to as the "government eye," and that city officials were "too cowardly" to raise taxes and so wanted the cameras to generate revenue.

As further evidence that
tea-leaf reading is ill-advised in the Texas Legislature, three committee members switched their votes from when the bill came up in 2003. Reps Martha Wong, R-Houston, and Kevin Bailey, D-Houston, voted in favor of red light cameras in 2003, but voted against them yesterday, along with Chairman Robert Talton, R-Pasadena, and freshman Roy Blake, R-Nacogdoches. Austin Rep. Eddie Rodriguez's vote, quite disappointingly, flipped the OTHER direction. He joined freshman Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston, in opposing Elkins' bill.

Bad vote, Eddie. Bad show.

The bill next must be approved by the House Calendars committee before going before the full Texas House, which in 2003 disapproved of the cameras on a 103-34 vote.

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